Kona Brewing Co.
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Active Beers: 29
Beer Ratings: 6,552
Beer Avg: 3.78
Taps: - / Bottles: -
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 40 | Reviews: 32 | Show All Ratings:
4.6/5 rDev +11.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $
Just got back from Kona a few weeks ago, and while there managed to spend more than my fair share of time over at Kona Brewing. What a great place in about as perfect of a location you could imagine!
The brewery itself is a much bigger facility that I had imagined, though it shouldn't be a surprise given that everything they keg and ship out around the islands goes out of there. I did figure they'd have a small bottling line for local markets, but it seems everything in bottles in contracted over in Portland. I did manage to see an oak barrel of 2005 Old Blowhole sitting back in the freezer, so with as good as the 2002 was, keep this one in mind for 2008 or so...
But I digress - the beer there was excellent. I was in time on subsequent days for the tapping of their new Paddler's Pilsner and the next day a firkin of Vanilla Bean Porter tapped for the start of American Beer Month! This along with their normal beers, which includes an excellent IPA, and other brews like the 2003 Old Blowhole and a Saison (who's not doing a saison this summer?!?).
Altogether there were about 10-12 taps on at any given time, no duplicates that I could see, and no crap on tap. They even had tall pilsner glasses for the pilsner the night they tapped it! Their Lilikoi Wheat is to be tried to, if nothing more than to taste how passionfruit can work in an American Wheat beer- it's a bit different and slightly perfumy, but it does work.
The brewers and restaurant crew were a friendly, open group that seems to really enjoy being there (seeing as they seemed to be around after work or even on days off), and the bar had a very local, though not hostile-local, feel about it; I spent a few afternoons just hanging out, talking story. There is definitely a strong local following of their beers - the aformentioned Vanilla Bean Porter was gone within an hour of being tapped! Their food menu lets pizza do the heavy lifting, with a number of gourmet-type combinations, along with sandwiches, salads, pasta, and the like.
Heading to Kona I was a bit concerned that this place would be catering to tourists and such, with BA's kinda out of the picture. I turned out to be was off, thankfully, and had a great time here.
07-22-2005 17:35:21 | More by jasonmason
4.58/5 rDev +10.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
Great beer selection. If you are on the Big Island and love craft beer, do yourself a favor and stop in, especially at happy hour. They have a great beer selection. The Coconut Brown Ale is my favorite, but I believe it is seasonal. Food was very good, but was not overpriced for Hawaii.
02-18-2013 20:16:23 | More by eluvah
4.55/5 rDev +10.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
Been waiting a long time to visit this BP. Located a shortish walk from downtown Kona behind a strip mall. Walking into the pub a growler/keg shack is located to the left of the host stand-this is where you can buy a growler of keg without going into the pub-great concept. Seating is located mostly outdoors under umbrellas with a few tables inside-but hey this is Kona why sit inside?
On tap were 12 beers or so-including the regular beers available on the mainland with several pub only seasonals, including a Saisson (organic), Barley Wine (in June!), and old ale.
Our car rental travel guide included a coupon for a free ap with purchase of sampler-no brainer. Our sampler consisted of two porters, two wheats, IPA, gold, and lager. Other folks who bought samplers only got 4-5 beers-lucky us.
We followed the sampler with pints of the IPA, Hefe, Wheat, Lava Rock Porter, then glasses of Saisson, and barley wine. All beers where outstanding especially the Barley Wine-nice to have in June. A second trip to KBC the night before our return home found the Barley Wine gone-but replaced with a Bourbon-Barrel Aged Old Ale-also excellent.
Food was excellent-pizza and salad.
Service was excellent. Don't know if we will ever get back-but if I do I am heading here straight off the plane.
There is KBC in Honolulu airport as well.
Be on the lookout for the mongoose-no you are not drunk if you see one-they live on the brewery grounds.
06-26-2009 23:08:01 | More by bradybeer
4.5/5 rDev +9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5 | $$
First time being here and first time bring in Hawaii in 15 years so I was really looking forward to this. Their menu all have things that sound great so it was hard to decide. The beer wasn't hard to decide though since I can get a few of their year round beers where I live in california. I got one of the draft only beers, the black sands porter and it was great. I did the tour which was also a lot of fun and I tasted the pipeline porter which is part of the tasting at the end. At the brewery you can taste the kona coffee but back home I can't really. If you're in kona go here it is a lot of fun and do the tour it's free!
11-06-2010 05:00:48 | More by BigB415
4.43/5 rDev +7.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 5 | $$
Made a point to stopping here during my stay on the Big Island.
Signed up for a tour and while I waited had some Roasted Garlic and bread (good) and the Pawai Pepperoni rolls (friggin' amazing - thought about them the whole trip). Great pizza crust (made from their spent grain). Everyone else was very happy with their food. They luckily had their Bourbon Barrel Aged Da Grind Buzz Kona Coffee Imperial Stout on tap so I grabbed one. Awesome beer.
The tour was quick and nothing was said out of the ordinary. Afterwards we got to sample some Kona beers and surprisingly they were all draft only beers (very happy about this since all trip I was drinking their standard fare). No real standouts; the lemongrass beer was interesting. Afterwards, filled in the gaps of what I haven't already had - the barleywine was meh and the red ale was just okay.
Service was great and was met with smiles the whole time. Location was easy to get to - but it's not close to the water, in fact the surrounding area isn't really "tropical" - more "small city-like."
Overall, a must stop for any serious beer drinker. Also stopped by Big Island Brewhaus - search for my review there.
04-13-2012 18:26:36 | More by jamex
4.4/5 rDev +6.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5 | $$
Stopped in here with my family on our last night on the Big Island. I'm so, so happy we did! We ended up taking the 3:00pm tour and staying for drinks and dinner afterward.
Kona Brewing Co. in Kailua-Kona is a very small operation. According to our tour guide, Jesse, they only brew 11,000 barrels each year, and they only bottle (by hand) one of those beers: Oceanic Organic. All of the Kona available on the mainland is contract brewed by Widmer Brother Brewing Company in Portland, OR and Redhook Ales Brewery in Portsmouth, NH. I learned these little tidbits along with loads of other interesting facts during the brewery tour, which I highly recommend!
After enjoying our complimentary beer samples (handed out at the end of the tour), we picked out a table on the outdoor patio and ordered a round. As luck would have it, they were pouring an experimental batch of their imperial stout: Bourbon Barrel Aged Da Grind Buzz Kona Coffee Imperial Stout with Vanilla Bean, served on nitro-tap. I couldn't believe it! (I wouldn't have known either, if it weren't for our wonderful server - I believe his name was Shane.) Sitting out on the patio was very relaxing, especially when it began to sprinkle. Our large table was shielded by an even larger umbrella, so none of us got wet. Kona Brewing Co.'s interior felt a bit cramped, but the patio was spaced out very nicely.
Our server was very nice and informative, and not too bothersome or slow. All or our beers were beautifully poured, and arrived in either (non-chilled) pint glasses or tulips, depending on the style.
I was quite impressed by Kona Brewing Co.'s beer selection, which included at least fifteen different ales and lagers, including some real specialties like '09 Old Blowhole and the aforementioned Bourbon Barrel Aged Da Grind Buzz with Vanilla Bean. According to our tour guide, Jesse, all of Kona's stouts are served on nitro-tap, and cask versions of select ales are offered several times a month.
We ended up ordering a couple of pizzas, some salads, and cheese bread, all of which were decent. Pizza, burgers, and sandwiches made up the bulk of the menu - pretty standard pub grub.
The tour, the beer, and the service made this an excellent visit, but the low prices made things even better. $5.28 for a 12oz. tulip of BA Da Grind Buzz, '09 Old Blowhole, and Oceanic Organic; $4.80 for most other pints; $3.60 for the special of the night: Coco Loco Brown Ale. This is a fantastic brewpub, and a must for anyone spending significant time on the Big Island!
07-25-2010 04:15:13 | More by ThreeWiseMen
4.38/5 rDev +6.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$
Atmosphere: The brewpub has nice tropical vibe without being campy. Plenty of outdoor seating under cover in case of the occasional shower and a some seating inside around the bar area.
Quality: The beers here are excellent. In my visits I have tried the Fire Rock Pale Ale, Lavaman Red Ale, Castaway IPA, Black Sand Porter, and their seasonal Steamvent. All were very tasty and I wish they were all available at home (their bottled offerings aren't distributed in my state yet).
Service: Excellent. During each visit my server has been very attentive and knowledgeable about the beers.
Selection: Mostly the Kona brews available, but there are nine or ten different styles available at a time.
Food: Pizza is their food speciality. It is the best on the Big Island. Sandwiches and salads are also very good here.
A good value, I would recommend a stop at the Kona Brewing Company when you get to Hawaii's Big Island. I make several visits each time I vacation on the island.
06-19-2005 05:01:42 | More by slyke
4.35/5 rDev +5.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $
As soon as I got my rental car, I headed straight for the brewery. It is slightly hidden but they do have signs that lead the way. The only help I needed was getting close enough to find the signs. I arrived hungry and thirsty and they met my needs very nicely. They have seating both inside and outside and we chose to sit outside. Aside from the excessive amount of flies around, which I am told is rare, the place was great. All of the waitresses were very friendly and quick. Both my girlfriend and myself ordered beer samplers and we shared a greek pizza. The beers came immediately and the pizza shortly after. The pizza was very good and I found out later that they use their spend grain from the brewery in the dough. We had a brownie with ice cream for dessert and it was excellent. They have a small shop inside with glassware, shirts, posters, and other branded stuff. They also have a shop outside where growlers can be purchased. Apparently they have some weird laws in Hawaii though, because some beers were only available on tap and some where only available as growlers. I put the value as inexpensive, but that is only compared to the rest of Hawaii. As someone from the mainland, the prices for food were a bit high. The beer prices were really cheap though. In conclusion, I highly recommend the place.
01-21-2007 04:42:34 | More by drseamus
4.33/5 rDev +4.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$$
(Visited 12/2010): Visited Kona during a stop on the big island on our cruise vacation. We walked to the brewpub from one of the stops on a bus tour. Kona is located at the crossroads of Kuakini Highway and Palani Rd. Parking looked to be ample around the facility.
Kona's atmosphere both inside and out is about all you could want in a Hawaiian brewpub. From the gigantic tank in the outdoor waiting area, gift booth, patio, and restaurant inside it is all welcoming and beer-centric. They also offer regular tours as long as you sign up in time at the host stand. The tour is informative and ends with samples. The color scheme inside can best be described as mustard 'n' Tang and there are surfboards and fans.
The beer selection at Kona is solid, from standard offerings to brewpub-exclusive beers. Some of the brews on tap when we visited included Bourbon Barrel Aged Black Sand Porter, Da Grind Buzz Kona Coffee Imperial Stout, Small Kine Bitter, Big Island Ginger Beer and Old Blowhole Barley Wine. All of Kona's beers are well-made. They also sell bottles like the Oceanic Organic Ale.
Service all around, from the hostess to the gift shop guy to the tour guide to the servers is very good.
Food at Kona is good as well. My wife and I both enjoyed our dishes.
Overall I would highly recommend anyone visiting the Big Island to find a way to visit this brewpub. It is a paradise within a paradise.
07-07-2011 20:45:37 | More by Dogbrick
4.3/5 rDev +4.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$
I've been to this place a few times over the years. Just got back from another trip to Kona and figured I'd finally write a review. Visited the brewpub twice in my long weekend. Happy to say, this place keeps getting better.
Major changes in parking...you now have to drive around the block and park in the back [off Paiwi] of the brewpub.
They have about 20 tables outside and another 10 inside [approx]. Outside is the place to be. Nice large umbrellas shield the sun. Keep a sharp eye out for the geckos climbing on the plants...very cool looking.
About 9 beers on tap. Nothing seasonal [besides the barleywine] this time. Usual stuff. Decent quality. Enjoyed the IPA with the food. Sampler of 4 6oz were $7, 12 oz $3.84 and pint is $4.56.
Speaking of which, food was quite good. Pupus are 4-$10 [nachos, quesadilla, garlic twists, etc.], salads $7-$12 [side & dinner sizes], pizza's $10-$24 [10", 12" & 14"], sandwhiches $10-$12 and desserts are $5-$6. All reasonably priced. Quite a good value.
We had pizza [I had the Honaunau, which was good] and sandwhiches on our trip. While they seem to be known for the pizza, it was their sandwhiches that really made me go "wow". Big Wave Shrimp melt was good, Porterhouse Dip was very good and the Imu Pork sandwhich was excellent. Make sure to get the chips with the sandwhich, these are kettle chips that are excellent!
So, if you're in Kona, this is a great place to go. It is not really a "touristy" place but a place for locals and tourists to mingle. If you are lucky, as we were, you can catch some excellent live music for free.
09-07-2006 07:27:16 | More by atigerlife
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Kona Brewing Co. in Kailua Kona, HI
92 out of 100 based on 40 user ratings.